October 4, 2000
Dear sisters and brothers in the Catholic Worker movement:
I recently learned that the Soulforce movement, founded by Mel White author of Stranger at the Gate; Gay and Christian, will be gathering at the annual National Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington DC from November 12-14th. The purpose of their gathering in prayer and protest is to call attention to and stop the legacy of spiritual violence against sexual and gender minorities.
Soulforce are people of faith from a rainbow of faith traditions committed to ending religious policies of exclusion and discrimination against God’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered children through direction nonviolent action.
This is a unique opportunity for folks in the Catholic Worker movement to address the American Catholic Bishops on this most crucial of human rights issues. Several years ago, I organized the first International retreat/gathering for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered Catholic Workers and their friends in Oakland, California. There we were able to begin a liberating process of telling our personal stories as queer people and to reflect on that process within the context of our lives as Catholic Workers. It was a memorable retreat which brought together 35 people from 13 U.S. cities and folks from Toronto, Canada and Amsterdam, Holland. We discovered and celebrated a deep, rich and often hidden tradition of queer people in the movement. We also needed to articulate and mourn the spiritual violence and debilitating silence that is embedded in the Catholic tradition by its paradoxical, confusing and contemptible teachings on the matter of "homosexuality." The Catholic Worker movement has its own legacy of grave silence, conscious censure and spiritual violence committed against people in the movement which needs to be addressed in the present and in the future.
I invite all of you to consider joining Soulforce’s nonviolent action at the Bishop’s meeting and to contact me by telephone (603) 532-4129 (until Nov. 8th) or by email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are planning to come. It would be an unexpected and welcomed gift of grace to join with other Catholic Workers in this kairos moment of speaking truth to power. I look forward to hearing from you and welcome any comments or questions.
In Christ the healing agitator,